top of page

Ultra-Large Format Cameras

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

There’s no real upper limit to how large a camera sensor or film can be. Full frame cameras are smaller than medium format digital, which itself falls behind most medium format film – and so on. At the high end of the scale are Ultra-Large Format (ULF) film cameras.

What is an ultra-large format camera? It’s any camera with an imaging area larger than 8×10 inches. In other words, each individual sheet of film – and it is film rather than digital, unless you’re NASA – is substantially larger than a standard sheet of printer paper. Even a basic 1200 PPI scan of ultra-large format film is going to be hundreds of megapixels… not that most scanners can fit such large sheets of film in the first place.

As the name implies, ultra-large format is massive compared to typical 35mm full-frame sensors or even medium format. Relative to the sensors in a phone, the difference is astronomical.

I chose that term – “astronomical” – because comparisons to astronomy are easy to make with cameras this large. For example, here’s the relative size of the Earth versus the Sun: